Mike Tedesco’s RAW Review
April 7, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Well it certainly didn’t take long for that post-WrestleMania lull to set in. After an awesome WrestleMania and a RAW with a red hot angle involving Brock Lesnar, WWE followed it up with this rather uninspired, boring episode of RAW. I don’t know if it’s because they’re flying out to Europe in a few days, but this show felt like the usual mess we’ve been seeing for the better part of the last six months.
Must every show open up with a long, long, long talking segment?
You’ll have to go back to September 8, 2014 to see the last time Monday Night RAW opened up with a wrestling match. For the nearly seven months since that date (not counting the RAW after the Royal Rumble), we have not seen one wrestling match open the show. I get that there’s a certain formula they like to follow, but would it kill the creative team to mix it up every now and then? It’s crazy that every single show has to open the exact same way with someone going on and on and having to stretch out a segment past it’s effectiveness point.
Last night, it was Seth Rollins’ duty to stretch out that first segment. I’ll admit that Rollins had great heat from the crowd. There were certain moments where he couldn’t even open his mouth without the crowd drowning him out with boos. That was pretty great. Then he started pouring over all of those ridiculous facts about how many people were talking about WrestleMania on Twitter that no one could possibly care about. They were so desperate to stretch out the segment that they used the same joke on Kane twice. Rollins got the crowd to laugh when he mentioned that Kane’s WrestleMania moment was that he was simply there. That was cute, but then he did the joke again. After that, you’ve got to shake your head.
Randy Orton came out to interrupt the segment, and he made fun of The Authority before Kane intervened. Are they trying to turn Kane because he feels disrespected? Is Kane turning face? Orton and Rollins had a little back and forth that was really poorly delivered. When you’re constantly delivering scripted lines that aren’t in line with how you normally talk, things like this will happen. Kane said we’d have a triple threat match to determine who would face Seth Rollins at Extreme Rules for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but wasn’t it already determined on this past Thursday’s Smackdown that Randy Orton would be the one to go for the title? They already gave away the winner of the triple threat days before. Kane threw a twist in there that Orton, Roman Reigns, and Ryback would have to have singles matches before the triple threat, which I took as an effort to milk more time for the show since they had nothing going on.
Kane booked himself to face Orton in the first match of the evening, and it was pretty bad. There’s just nothing entertaining about watching Kane wrestle anymore. The finish was really bad as well. Kane hit Orton in the midsection with the chair and then got chased off. The commentators tried to sell it as Orton would be wounded later on in the night, but that was quickly forgotten about.
By the way, the commentary team with Byron Saxton was really brutal. Saxton seemed completely lost at times. He’d start a sentence and not finish it. He seemed completely uncomfortable and out of place. They should’ve used Tom Phillips in that role. Phillips was great on Smackdown before being demoted for whatever reason. He’d have been the better choice.
Neville faces the WWE World Heavyweight Champion in his second week
Brad Maddox randomly made his return on RAW in a segment with Kane, and no one ever brought it up again as soon as he disappeared off the screen. No one on commentary was like, “Hey, was that Brad Maddox?” Nothing. Seth Rollins barged into the room and was angry with Kane for making the triple threat, so Kane booked him to face a mystery opponent in the next segment. That mystery opponent turned out to be Neville, who only debuted on the main roster a week ago.
I really enjoyed the match between Rollins and Neville. Obviously these guys have great chemistry. Rollins was great in his role of acting overconfident before Neville put the boots to him with an offensive flurry. Neville held his own and wasn’t beat like a complete chump at the end. It was fun to watch, but the real mystery is how WWE follows it up. Is Neville going to be on the fast track or is he just going to float around on the mid-card beating guys like Curtis Axel 900 times?
Another awesome United States Championship open challenge
If they’re going to continue to do this John Cena open challenge thing every week, you’re not going to hear a complaint from me. Cena cut a patriotic promo about the United States Title before calling Rusev out for being not man enough to face him on RAW. Stardust was the one who accepted the challenge, and they had a pretty darn good match. It was booked exactly how it should have been booked in the beginning with Cena laying waste to Stardust. That actually went on for a good majority of the match. Why should Stardust come out of nowhere and take it to Cena right off the bat when he couldn’t even beat Damien Mizdow the week before. Stardust then had some good offense against Cena, including a nasty looking DDT. I didn’t see where it happened, but Stardust also gave Cena a black eye, which he didn’t look too happy about. Still, this was a very entertaining match, and I can’t wait to see who answers the challenge next week. Hey, maybe something like this should open RAW!
The show begins to fall apart
Aside from the opening segment going too long, up to the end of the US Open Challenge, the show was more than passable. Unfortunately, it fell off the tracks starting with a Divas tag team match that was so poorly executed that I just straight up felt bad for the four women involved. There was mistimed spot after mistimed spot and slow motion offense that looked embarrassing. Naomi in particular didn’t look good. If I were Naomi, I’d find the artist formerly known as Aksana and beat her down on her porch. Naomi was on fire and looking like a future Divas Champion in early 2014 until Aksana broke her orbital socket with her usual awful offense. Since then, Naomi has been struggling to find her groove. There are moments where she has it and looks great, but last night was not one of those times. Last night was so bad that it might derail whatever title thoughts creative had for her.
After that, Ryback was sent out to have his singles match against Luke Harper ahead of the triple threat main event. I’m a fan of matches where it’s two big guys just clubbing the tar out of each other, but the good people of Austin aren’t as into it as I am. In fact, the great majority of them sat on their hands for what turned out to be a short match with zero heat. It wasn’t even as good as I thought it could be. To top it off, there was no Dean Ambrose to attack Harper after the match. There was no Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, or Bad News Barrett either. I’m sure they could’ve filled some time on this show.
This led to a Lucha Dragons vs. New Day match, which was just ok. Kalisto continues to look great on the main roster. I’m interested to see what they do with this team. They could have a killer match against Tyson Kidd and Cesaro. The New Day continues to have no momentum, which was pointed out by the Prime Time Players in a completely unfunny skit where they also trashed on The Ascension. If you’re going to make a joke out of some tag teams, make sure that your own tag team isn’t a joke itself…
When will WWE ever learn from its mistakes?
For the love of god, no one will ever care about Roman Reigns if he’s paired up against the Big Show in ridiculously boring matches! Reigns’ initial feud in December and January against Big Show did him absolutely no favors. In fact, it kind of exposed him and started the roll to what happened at the Royal Rumble, which ultimately derailed Reigns’ coronation at WrestleMania. So with the track record of awfulness that is Big Show/Reigns, how exactly are things supposed to be different a second time around? At least Reigns beat him cleanly, but this was pretty bad. Reigns looked really bad selling for Big Show. It just didn’t look convincing. How is Reigns laughing at WrestleMania while Lesnar was legitimately beating the tar out of him, but Big Show’s stale offense actually hurts him? I don’t get it. Again, none of this is Reigns’ fault. Other than the execution of the WrestleMania match, WWE just keeps booking him in lose-lose situations. Also that thing where he cocks his fist and makes a face like he’s constipated… that’s got to go.
Sheamus continues to impress as a heel
I absolutely love the new edge Sheamus has since turning heel. This was so long overdue it’s not even funny. Sheamus was amazing on Smackdown in his match against Daniel Bryan. This week on RAW, he cut essentially the same promo he did on Smackdown, but he left out the desire to crush the crowd’s hopes and dreams part. Sheamus targeted Dolph Ziggler in his promo before Mark Henry interrupted him. Sheamus quickly disposed of Henry to conclude his segment.
The Miz faces Damien Mizdow in a random RAW segment? Really?
After months of build and teasing of a breakup, The Miz faced Damien Mizdow in a match that went far too long and had absolutely no heat. That was pretty shocking. I’m sure they’ll fight at Extreme Rules, but to give it away on a random segment just didn’t feel right. Mizdow beat on Miz the entire match before Miz pinned him with a handful of tights. This smells like an Extreme Rules kickoff match. The lack of heat truly stunned me.
The main event is given no time to build
It always shocks me how they never seem to have enough time on a three-hour show to give the audience a decent main event. In a lot of cases, they spend a ton of time promoting the match and building it up and then when it rolls around, it’s give five or seven minutes because other things went too long. When it’s around 10:45 EST and Miz and Mizdow are just starting up what would up being a longer than it should have been match, shouldn’t one of the decision-makers have had the commentators say, “Well so much has happened tonight that we’re going to move the match with The Miz and Damien Mizdow to Thursday’s Smackdown so you can see the main event of the show in full”? How would that be a bad thing? How can they be so bad at pacing out these shows? There is so much on this show that could have been cut down or straight up cut. The time for the main event should never be sacrificed so we can see an extra segment of Big Show/Roman Reigns…
The main event wasn’t good at all. It was completely rushed and felt like they were just doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff. There was no heat in it because they couldn’t build to anything before they started doing the near fall sequences. Ryback, who was in this match to be the fall guy, took the loss to the guy everyone already thought was facing Rollins at Extreme Rules, Randy Orton. Reigns didn’t factor into the finish because he was hit with two Knockout Punches from Big Show, so I guess that wonderfully entertaining feud will continue. Shortly after Orton’s victory, the show was off the air.
Other than a good first hour and fifteen minutes, this show was exactly what we’ve come to expect from WWE: boring and uninspired. Any feelings of WWE possibly turning the corner after WrestleMania have been dashed. They’ll probably try harder around June or July with SummerSlam on the horizon and then promptly go back to being mediocre after that. What a great business strategy. Can they turn it around and have a great show next week? Sure they can. Unfortunately, their track record is against them. This show desperately needs a shakeup. I was hoping the great WrestleMania would be that, but it wasn’t. They’re doing what they always do, and that’s a real shame.
Bump of the Night: Stardust’s DDT on John Cena!
Match of the Night: Seth Rollins vs. Neville ** 1/4
Final Rating: ** 1/4
Well those are my thoughts? Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of these two other options to get in contact with me.
Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here. Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW for Wrestleview.com.